The Miami Hurricanes honored seniors Tyler Speaks, Johanna Barth, Gudrun Haralz and Selena Fortich in their final game of the season Wednesday night at Cobb Stadium.
The four seniors were joined by family and friends at midfield before the game for an appreciation of their efforts over the years.
Unfortunately for Miami (4-12, 1-9 Atlantic Coast Conference), the pregame ceremony was the most heartening moment of the night. The No. 7-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (12-2-3, 5-2-3 ACC) made sure of that by scoring four goals from 26 shots, 13 on target.
Tar Heels forward Sam Meza opened scoring in the 19th minute, converting past junior goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais off a rebound in the penalty box.
The opener was only a sign of things to come as the Tar Heels continued to dominate most of the match and the Hurricanes only managed one shot. The majority of the game was played in the Miami defensive third.
“They’re the gold standard for women’s college soccer,” Miami head coach Sarah Barnes said. “They show you what aspects of our game needs to be better. It paints a really clear picture for us as a staff and the players that will be returning tomorrow.”
After the half, North Carolina showed why it’s considered among the nation’s best by scoring back-to-back goals in the 57th and 58th minutes, from Emily Colton and Emily Murphy.
Miami’s defense held out for 23 minutes until North Carolina forward Talia Dellaperuta scored the final goal of the game. It was the Hurricanes 36th goal conceded on the year, putting their mark for goals allowed per game at 2.25.
UM will look to build on the commitment shown from this year’s senior class.
“Through challenging times, through good times, through fun times, they were there, and intricately involved in all the things we did,” Barnes said. “They weren’t afraid to say the hard things that needed to be said, and that’s what you want from your most experienced players. They came every day, worked hard, said the things that needed to be said, and held standards for themselves and their teammates. You can’t put a dollar sign on their value.”
While the Tar Heels will look towards the NCAA Tournament bracket announcement on Nov. 8, the Hurricanes will start to prepare for the future.
“The first day next season is tomorrow and we’re looking forward to getting to work,” Barnes said.